How early can you take a pregnancy test?

by pregnancy journalist
How early can you take a pregnancy test?
(Picture: Getty)

If you’re trying for a baby, you’ll be desperate to know if you’re pregnant pretty much instantly.

Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple, and you do have to wait a little while before pregnancy tests can show whether you’ve conceived.

Of course, you can take a pregnancy test whenever you want. There are no adverse effects of doing so, except for the pointless money you’ll spend.

To find out when you should take a test, however, you need to work out your expected menstruation and ovulation times.

How early can you take a pregnancy test?
(Picture: Getty)

You need to wait until implantation has occurred before your body starts producing the hormone (hCG) that pregnancy tests pick up on.

This is the attachment of the fertilised egg to the wall of the uterus at the start of pregnancy, so even if your egg has been fertilised, your pregnancy test won’t show you’re pregnant until this point.

Implantation can occur 6 to 12 days after ovulation, but in 85% of cases it occurs between 8 and 10 days after ovulation.

So, taking a pregnancy test before this point means you could potentially be wasting money and actually risking a false negative result.

How early can you take a pregnancy test?
(Picture: Getty)

The recommendation is that you should wait until a day after your first missed period.

If you don’t have regular periods, the NHS say waiting three weeks from the point you feel you may have conceived is a safe bet.

In the event you get a negative result but your period is late or you’re experiencing other pregnancy symptoms, wait a few days and a try again. After that, it’s best to see your GP if you continue to get negative results.

Some tests on the market claim that they can detect a pregnancy as soon as 8 days after conception.

You can also get others that’ll give you an estimated date of how far along in the pregnancy you are.

Potential early signs of pregnancy

  • Tender, swollen breasts.
  • Fatigue
  • Slight bleeding or cramping
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Food aversions or cravings
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Faintness or dizziness

Remember, though, that none of these can guarantee you’re pregnant. You’ll have to wait until you’re ready to take a test to be sure.

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